Archive | January, 2013

Be Happy : Instagram – 29th January 2013

29 Jan



Eat Well : Low-Fat Chocolate Cake

27 Jan

You can have your low-fat cake and eat it!

Ok, so this ones not gluten-free – I’ve been having an off week, but as a treat for my lovely housemate for her birthday, I decided to try out a low-fat recipe for a birthday cake.

Low-Fat Chocolate Cake


  • For the cake:
    • 3 large eggs
    • 85g caster sugar
    • 70g plain flour
    • 1 tbsp cornflour
    • 2 tbsp cocoa
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • For the filling:
    • 25g dark chocolate (don’t use 75% chocolate, as this makes the icing too bitter)
    • 100g light soft cheese – Philadelphia
    • 100g 0% Greek Yoghurt – Fage
    • 2 tbsp icing sugar


  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees/160 degrees for a fan oven/gas mark 4. Lightly butter and line 2 x 18cm sandwich tins with baking tins.
  2. Whisk the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy – this should be about 5 minutes if using a tabletop mixer, or 10 minutes using an electric hand whisk. The mixture should increase in volume, and be thick enough to leave a trail on the surface when the whisk blades are lifted.
  3. Sift the flour, cornflour, cocoa and baking powder over the eggs and fold in using a large metal spoon. Be careful not to loose the volume of the mixture – keeping the air bubbles in the mixture will keep the cake light and moist.
  4. Pour the mixture into the tins and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the cakes have well risen, and the mixture has begun to shrink away from the edges of the tins, and springs back when pressed. Allow to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out on to a rack.
  5. For the topping/filling, microwave the chocolate until it has melted, then beat in the soft cheese, yoghurt and icing sugar until smooth. Spoon onto the cakes and serve 🙂

Serves 8.


Nutrition per serving:

  • 180 kcalories
  • Protein : 5g
  • Carbohydrate : 27g
  • Fat : 7g
  • Saturated Fat : 3g
  • Fibre : 1g
  • Sugar : 18g
  • Salt : 0.33g

Be Happy : Testing out the MapMyRide app

25 Jan

I rode with MapMyRide! Distance: 5.77mi, time: 36:56, pace: 6:24min/mi, speed: 9.37mi/h. So, on the ride from work to our crew dinner at Charlotte L’s house I decided to test out a fitness app. I normally use Google’s own MyTracks for recording my rides and runs, and I’ve got quite attached to the features! But, with it being a map-based app, the look of the app isn’t so pretty, and I wanted to see if other dedicated sports apps have extra features. For this ride I used MapMyRide. The app itself looks quite nice – it’s much more designed than Google’s. The main menu has perhaps too many options for my liking though – I like the idea of being able to compare your routes with others, and log your food diary all in one app, but I don’t think it’s as advanced as MyFitnessPal, and so if I was keeping a food diary I would still use MFP instead. Recording your route is straightforward – like MyTracks, you hit the start button and off you go! Once you finish, press the pause/stop button and it saves it for you. One warning though – if you sign up with facebook, it updates your profile each time you use it! I need to find the option to turn this off! I’m not sure how long my friends will last till their bored of seeing all my outings! I don’t want to say much more about it just yet, as I’ve only used it for two short rides this evening. I’ll give it another couple of outings to test all the features before giving it a rating! Changing topic, crew dinner was really lovely. Charlotte, the stroke of the boat I was due to be racing in held the crew dinner at her house, and we all (minus 1 who couldn’t make it) met up to catch up, and prep for the race. A carb-loading dinner … although being weight-conscious ladies it was complex carbs and salad, but it was a really lovely evening. A bit of the usual gossip and swapping of tales from the river over dinner, and then down to the serious stuff over desert! Heather, the cox went through the plan for the race, and noted down recommendations from the crew as to ways to keep the girls motivated throughout the marshalling, and more importantly of course the race! I’m gutted I won’t be racing, but equally really excited for them all tomorrow, and it was great to join in the evening despite being on the bench, so to speak! I’ll be down on one of the bridges tomorrow to cheer them on and take photos. Might see if I can fit in a gym session and perhaps cycle down to the race to test out my app a little more. Fingers crossed I’ll also have my extra phone batteries and my mount for my bike handlebars so that I can see my phone as I cycle – then I can really test it all out!

Train Hard : Back on the bike – it’s been a while!

25 Jan 25/01/2013 8:37am Cycle To Work Total distance: 12.52 km (7.8 mi) Total time: 46:54 Moving time: 43:55 Average speed: 16.01 km/h (9.9 mi/h) Average moving speed: 17.10 km/h (10.6 mi/h) Max speed: 29.92 km/h (18.6 mi/h) Average pace: 3.75 min/km (6.0 min/mi) Average moving pace: 3.51 min/km (5.6 min/mi) Fastest pace: 2.01 min/km (3.2 min/mile) Max elevation: 92 m (301 ft) Min elevation: 48 m (156 ft) Elevation gain: 158 m (519 ft) Max grade: 10 % Min grade: -6 % Recorded: 25/01/2013 8:37am It’s been a while since the white wheels left Waldron Road! It was a really nice ride in though – little bit nippy, but nothing a thermal baselayer and gloves couldn’t fix! In fact I’d worked up quite a sweat by the time I got into the office – it was a well needed shower – shame the office shower has no power, just a trickle! Not too annoyed about getting lost though – the detour took me round Notting Hill, where my office used to be, so it was nice to be back roubd there. I remember why it’s called Notting Hill too!

Be Happy : Physio at TRC

21 Jan

So, after a week off from training, I went to see the physio yesterday at TRC – Andrew Lawson.

After some interesting tests for muscle triggering, he came to the conclusion that my injury was a groin strain.

It seems I have a weak posterior chain, and therefore when rowing – in particular using the beloved RowPerfect – I have the tendency to use my adductors – the muscles on the inner thigh – to keep my legs straight and stop them wobbling about. In turn, this means that I am using my adductors much more than my quadriceps, and as time has gone on, they’ve got tighter and tighter until last weekend when they almost seized up!

He’s given me some exercise to work on – mainly to strengthen the glutes – I thought they were already pretty strong! The main one he’s suggested is the bridge exercise from yoga. This should activate the glutes and get them working again, along with the usual squats, lunges and one-legged squats!

So this week’s focus : gluteus maximus, medius and minimus.

Less of the train hard this week, more of the stretch gently

16 Jan

Well it seems Saturday’s session hit me harder than I had anticipated.

The 10KM row on the RowPerfect pulled something in my thigh – as to what muscle, and the extent of the damage, I am yet to find out.

During class on Tuesday we were learning exercises using stability balls, and as I lowered myself to squat with the ball against the wall I felt the pain come back into my thigh, and immediately had to stop.

My lecturer, Lincoln, helped me to stretch it out with a couple of different stretches.


First he tried the knee to shoulder stretch, to see if it was my piriformis – however this didn’t cause much pain, other than in the front of my hip/groin. He was baffled by this!

He then extended my left leg straight across my right leg, and tried to bring it up to a 90 degree angle to my right leg – as he did this I felt the pain shoot down my leg – bang, that’s the spot!

From his quick analysis he told me it’s something to do with an incredibly tight posterior chain, and that I need to do a lot of stretching to sort it out. He was surprised with the lack of flexibility with the stretch, and explained that tight glutes and hamstrings would most likely be the root of the problem. Overuse, tiredness, lack of hydration and lack of warming up prior to exercise probably did not help.

So, how to fix this?

Another evening off training, and I’m dying to get back to the club. My coaches have been great – they understand the importance of rest, and not wanting to make things worse as they see the bigger picture involved. We have the big races to come in February and March and they’ve said they want me to be fit for these, so the more care I take now, the better I’ll be for those races.

But it doesnt make it any easier – I’m rather impatient when it comes to healing and rest!

I’ve tried the same stretch at home again tonight to see if that helps, and I did it with both legs. It’s a little more complicated when you don’t have someone to pin one leg in place and bend the other! My makeshift version involved laying on the floor at the end of my bed with my right leg up against the edge of my bed, and then pulling my left leg round and holding it in place with a towel for leverage. Yep, if any of my housemates had come into my room at that point they would have wondered what on earth I was doing! But then they’ve seen me rolling around the kitchen on my grid roller, so they know what to expect!

It’s not the best method, however it’s working for now! I’ve found resistance bands for this particular stretch – they need to be fairly tough material – and will most likely order one in the next couple of days to make things a little easier!

I’ve also been in touch with the club’s physio, and I’m hoping to get a session booked in with him at the weekend to see what can be done, and what I can do to prevent it happening again.

Be Happy : Instagram – 13th January 2013

13 Jan


Train Hard : Just another Saturday morning session

12 Jan

Was really struggling to drag myself out of bed this morning, mainly due to tiredness, however the sound of rain lashing at my window and the lack of daylight definitely did not help!

However, after Wednesday’s great squad meeting/pep talk, I’m definitely feeling the need to commit, and the impact that not turning up now has on the rest of my crew and the squad as a whole.


Today’s session was more of the usual.

We had a great outing first thing in the Noel. The crew that we intend to race for Quintin; Charlotte Lee at Stroke, Me at 7, Eloise at 6, Bethan at 5, Frankie at 4, Alice at 3, Sarah at 2 and Marketa at 1.

We did most work in 6s, and travelled up as far as Chiswick Pier, and we did spend a good chunk of the time in all 8s too. The balance is definitely getting better – there were a few strokes where it seemed to be coming so smoothly, several of us at that point had forgotten we were rowing as an 8!


After coffee and hot-cross bun break (today there was also a pan of beans as part of the usual breakfast treats!) we went into the tank for some technique work.

More slide word – increasing the recovery section, and making sure we get hands away. Also tried out a new technique – cutting the cake – to determine hand height during the recovery phase of movement in the boat.


After this we went up into the gym – which was full of school children that were all testing!

And we had a 10km test! My hamstrings not particularly liking me right now!

I had Ross help me stretch it out after, but it felt like I’d been kicked really hard in the lower glutes/upper hamstring. Must remember to stretch it out again in the morning!

Will post up the results of today’s gym work soon …

Eat Well : Does Protein Help You Get Stronger?

10 Jan

Train Hard : Squad results

9 Jan


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